Samsung’s much-hyped Galaxy Fold phone made a bad start when the flexible display on several test models sent to tech reviewers malfunctioned, even before the South Korean tech giant could start selling its top-line offering to global consumers.
Samsung has now deferred indefinitely the launch of the Galaxy Fold, originally set for release this Friday in the US via carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile as well as electronics retailer Best Buy. The company suspects the problem was caused by the displacement of the phone’s hinge.
Now Huawei and its peers in China are seeing an opportune time to poach business from Samsung as some buyers look to have a futuristic handset that can be opened to expose an immersive, tablet-like display.
Huawei is expected to sell its 5G-ready, foldable Mate X model “very soon,” way ahead of the initial announcement of a June launch date, according to Chinese papers.
But the Chinese telecommunications behemoth must ensure that the display on its Mate X, which debuted in Barcelona in February with a hefty price tag of US$2,600, will not crack or flicker like those on Samsung’s handset.
Huawei brags that the Mate X’s soft, flexible display can bend and stretch with ease, yet they say it is rigorously built and tested to ensure reliability. The Mate X has an 8-inch OLED display that can fold outwards to form a 6.6-inch main display and a 6.4-inch rear display.
Popular YouTuber Mr Mobile (Michael Fisher) noted in its hands-on video of the Mate X that it would be a very real product that you would soon be able to buy, and if it could deliver on even half its potential, it would change smartphones as we knew them.
The Mate X’s display becomes the casing when it is closed and secured by a push-button latch when closed. But the display is plastic since glass does not fold, and the phone has a soft skin prone to scratches and its surface texture is nowhere near as smooth as glass, according to the tech vlogger.
The South China Morning Post also reported that Royole Corp, a Chinese technology unicorn that invented the world’s thinnest full-color flexible display, had already unveiled its own foldable smartphone, the FlexPai, in November last year. The high-end model of this device will sell for about $1,865.